Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 6

Read the transcript of Mike McCarthy’s Wednesday press conference as he prepares to take on the Chicago Bears for the first time as a head coach. Packers.com will post these full transcripts following each of Coach McCarthy’s press conferences throughout the 2006 season.


Head Coach Mike McCarthy

(What will Sunday mean to you on a personal level?)

I'm obviously excited on a personal level. From a professional standpoint, it's the job I've always dreamed of, and to have the opportunity to go out there and tee it up for the first time, I'm really looking forward to it.

* (Any advantage with your style being unknown, as well as so many new starters?)*

Well, the beginning of the season is always unknown, so it could be a slight advantage. I've never looked at it as a disadvantage because you can present different things schematically to your opponent. With our youth, I think we're pretty much going to line up and play the way we need to play. I've done more in the past going into seasons with more of an unknown than I probably have this time through. Once again, it comes down to execution and that's what our focus is on for Sunday.

* (What about the Tampa 2 defense makes it so challenging?)*

Well the challenge of Tampa 2 is really being in position to play Tampa 2. The defense is built on speed and athletic ability. You notice the teams that do this defense are all athletic, a lighter group, quick and they fly to the football. They're built for more pass rush, so the strength of the Tampa 2 is to be able to get into it. To play Tampa 2 the majority of the time, you obviously have to play with the lead. It also gives them the ability to play with their eyes to the ball all the time and generate turnovers. It's a defense, with that being the primary scheme, that they (Chicago) obviously draft to and have done a nice job with.

* (What does a QB have to do to succeed against the Tampa 2 defense?)*

It depends on what he is trying to do. Every time they're in Tampa 2, you'd like to be running the football. That would be to the advantage of the offense for the most part. When you're throwing the football, their whole perimeter has their eyes glued to the quarterback. They're spot dropping and pushing with the eyes of the quarterback to the tilt of the formation and things like that. The quarterback just needs to be smart with his eyes.

* (You are going to see this defense from all three division teams, do you get used to it?)*

We'll get plenty of work at it, that's for sure.

* (Lombardi began his career with by beating the Bears - is that inspiration?)*

I'd like to repeat a lot of things Coach Lombardi has accomplished here in Green Bay, and I would definitely like to start with a victory over Chicago.

* (Can Tony Palmer be ready to play so that you feel comfortable at all five o-line spots?)*

That's what we're striving for. Time will tell how fast we'll be able to do that. Palmer was a young man we liked coming out of the draft. We brought him in for a pre-draft visit, and he plays with a lot of power. I think the young man has a bright future, and I'm glad we have him. We will strive to get him ready as soon as possible. He's on our 53-man roster.

* (If a guard goes down, does Wells go to guard and C. White to center?)*

No, we'll keep Wells (at center). Obviously, Daryn (Colledge) has had a lot of reps at guard, so he would probably move there. Chris White also has reps at guard, so we have the combination of those two guys right now.

* (CHI has lost last three openers, is this a good chance to get them right off the bat?)*

I don't perceive home openers that way. They are coming off a very successful season. Their program is established, and their players have been in their schemes now for three years so they do have a comfort level. They do now have some experience, and that's the challenge they present to us. We're going to go out there with our focus being on how we play. The challenge they present is basically how they're going to play us. Once again, as I tell the team all the time, the success of this game will come down to how we play. That's our focus.

* (In a normal game week, what is the schedule for practices with pads?)*

There are a number of different factors that are involved with pads. I've been in programs where you go pads Wednesday and Thursday and then shells on Friday. We're a young football team so that's something we're considering. Also, I've gone in pads just on Thursday. That's really the way our schedule is structured based on how we broke down our installations of our situations. As we move forward, we'll probably go pads on Thursday and the padded practice on Wednesday will be week to week. At some point in the season, probably about the Week 8 to Week 10 mark, we'll look to take the pads off.

* (Core backups in o-line and secondary have never played in NFL - is that scary?)*

I've never been a head coach in an NFL season either, so we're excited about it. It's a great opportunity for everyone involved and they're working very hard. I think they have a clear understanding of how they need to play. The speed of the game is something every rookie goes through, so they need to get used to it as fast as possible. We're playing against a very fast football team, especially in the special teams and defensive phases of the game. It's a great challenge. We'll continue to grow, and we're excited about the opportunity.

* (How many times could Ahman Green carry the ball Sunday?)*

We'll find out. I've never gone through a game with him. That's something we talk about as a football team - starting fast and how important it is to hydrate this week. This is the first time for everybody. Both teams involved are going to go out and play four quarters. With Ahman's history, we're going to push it as far as he can go. He looks great and has worked extra on his conditioning coming off the Monday night game, so time will tell.

* (Wouldn't have a limit on carries because of the injury?)*

No, not at all. We're playing to win.

(Prefer to have four tight ends on the roster in this offense?)

I would prefer to have four tight ends because the tight end gives you excellent flexibility. Tight ends, next to the quarterback, are your most flexible player from a mental standpoint. What I'm referring to is that they're involved in the run blocking unit, the pass protection unit and also involved in the pass perimeter. If you have the athlete at that position, it gives you excellent flexibility. I've always been a big proponent of having four tight ends on the roster. I feel very fortunate that we actually have five with Zac (Alcorn) on the practice squad, so I really like the flexibility it gives us.

* (Likely to suit up three or four on gameday?)*

We'll find out.

* (How did Henderson respond to practice this week?)*

He feels good. We're being smart with him, and we'll evaluate him as the week goes on. It's a 16 game season, so we're going to be smart with William Henderson.

* (When will you know who your starting SAM linebacker is?)*

By the end of the week.

* (Favre talked to Costas about possibly playing elsewhere- concerned he's not focused?)*

I don't agree with that based off the interview. I took part in that interview. I have no indication that Brett Favre wants to play anywhere else. If I was a betting man, I'd bet he'd retire a Green Bay Packer.

* (With your youth, how much have you had to scale back?)*

Well, really when we put the offense, defense and special teams in during the spring from a format outlook, we tailored it to our football team. Everything we put in this spring, we repeated it throughout training camp, and that's the volume we'll go with throughout the year. We feel very comfortable with the amount of volume that we have, and from my experience, if it doesn't go the way you think it should go, then that's when you cut back even more. By all means, we're not going to line up and run two runs and one pass and so forth. We feel like we have plenty of ammunition.

* (How confident are you in your rookie guards?)*

Very confident because they're competitors, they're fighters. I fully anticipate them jumping in there Sunday afternoon and fighting. It's a great challenge for the defensive line and linebacker group that you'll be going against. I'm excited for both of them. They both have a bright future, and it starts on Sunday afternoon.

* (What have you seen from Rex Grossman?)*

Rex has a strong arm. He can throw the ball. I know just in the breakdowns, he had some balls that were 40-plus yards in the air, so he throws with some velocity. He's a competitor. I recall breaking him down in college and he's a fiery individual. He's a young man who has had a bad stroke of luck with his injuries, and I think he's only had eight games experience. But he's a competitive quarterback.

* (Have a number in mind for the run/pass ratio?)*

I do. I don't really want to get into specifics about how much I want to run the ball or pass the ball this week.

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